Triumvir (previously titled "And There Were Three"): Chapter Twenty-One

Fiction By Clare Marie // 1/17/2010

**Yep, it happened.  I finally was able to find a better name for this book.  Triumvir.  (Pronounced try-UM-vur, almost like triumphant, only with a vir instead of a phant.)  Triumvir means "a ruling body of three".  At this point, I think my chapters are going to start getting a little confusing, as I'm not too sure where I'm going right now, any "constructive criticism" comments would be most welcome. :)**


Eltar was wrapped in a thoughtful silence as he rode.  Around him laughed and sang the elves in their silver voices.  Everything was gay and merry.  Even the clop of the horses' hooves seemed bright and musical; and Eltar's dog Beesa, loping at the side of his master's horse, barked happily with a lolling, panting tongue.  But Eltar's thoughts ran steadily on.  He watched Elinor absently, hardly noticing her cheery change of mood.  He thought back to the day the elves arrived in the dwarves' kingdom, to the moment of panic when Elinor had almost been the cause of a sudden departure, one that would leave the twins behind.  It had taken much explanation to persuade Deyn to change his mind.  For the Royal Messenger knew more about Glayde's cruelty than the twins did -- the Southern lord's own nephew and niece.

"We elves have always held Lord Glayde in great disdain, even while we fear him," Deyn had said bitterly.  "Since he came into power in the South, he hast sought ever for more, to the point of setting lands afire and persecuting our people.  His men follow his black example to the utmost.  No Southerner is to be trusted.  Yea, thyself now knows, Lord Eltar.  See how thy sister was treated."

Then came the rush of packing and saying farewells.  All that was blurry to Eltar.  Deyn had been in such a hurry to leave, Eltar had had no time to think.  He was sorry he couldn't have spent more time with Bettle, before they left.  Eltar tried to imagine what the dwarf-king was doing at the moment.  Juggling?

"Of what art thou thinking, my lord?" 

A voice broke into Eltar's musings.  He looked up to find an elf named Raam riding next to him.  Raam was young, by the reckoning of his people, and already good friends with Eltar.

"Of the friends I left behind," replied Eltar wistfully.

Raam nodded his handsome dark head.  "Aye," he said, " 'tis much to sacrifice for one so young."  The elf suddenly bubbled with laughter.  "Verily, I never dreamed of being able to speak that to anyone.  'Tis always showered too freely on me."  Eltar laughed.  Something in the elf's expression when he had complained about the disrespect of youth had tickled Eltar, and he almost fell off his horse with laughter.  Raam watched him, amused.

"Ho, Mikelo!" he called to an elf two horses back in the column.  "Here is one who knoweth a good joke when he hears it.  Come and dose him with some of thine own."

Up rode a rider with sleek brown hair and a face made for gaiety.  He gazed at Eltar solemnly out of two grey eyes.  Eltar went into another bout of merriment at this, for the glance of woeful melancholy in such a jesting face was too comical.  Mikelo grinned, apparently satisfied; and until the troop stopped for the night, he dished out a stream of jokes and ridiculous stories that made Eltar's side ache.  The boy fairly tumbled off his horse when they halted.  Upon which, Raam escorted him around the camp to walk off the cramps, making introductions as they went.  Eltar knew he would never remember all the names, but he enjoyed meeting so many elves.  Raam was a wonderful tour guide, and only once did they stop.

"Is she thy sister?"  Raam asked his companion, pointing to a group of elves who were amusing Elinor with storytelling.

"My sister!  I must go talk to her.  I haven't had a chance to all day."

"So she is, then?"

"Aye, she is!"

"Introduce me, if thou wish.  Be she anything like thyself, 'twill be an honorable acquaintance."

"She isn't," laughed Eltar.  "She's crazy.  But you'll like her all the same."  The storytellers had just finished, but Elinor spotted her twin and came running.

"Eltar!" she cried, squeezing his arm.  Her dark eyes sparkled, and her curly hair was rather wild.  Mym barked and growled by her side, wrestling with Beesa.

"Elinor, I --"

"Oh, I've had the most wonderful time!" interrupted Elinor, paying no attention to Eltar.  "Even I never thought that elves would be this fun!  And you were being such a wet-blanket about it, too.  Of course, you have only met fairies, but --"

Raam cleared his throat.

Eltar grinned and shook Elinor a little.

"Elinor, I want you to meet Raam.  Raam, this is my sister Elinor."

"Oh!" was Elinor's gracious response.  She had not even noticed Raam.

"Greetings, fair lady."  Raam follwed elvish custom and kissed her hand, bowing.  Elinor curtsied.  (By now she was fairly used to the practice.)  Raam seemed about to say more, when an elf called him over, and he excused himself.

Eltar quickly filled Elinor in on what his day had been like.

"I haven't seen Deyn at all," he said; "have you?"

"No, not at all.  Don't like him very much, anyway."  She wrinkled her nose.  "After the thrill of talking to our first elf, I realized that.  Eltar, how about we fence?"

"Maybe tomorrow.  I'm awfully tired."

"Oh come on, just for a little while; please?"



"I will fence with thee, lady," came Raam's voice.  They jumped.

"How long have you been standing there?" said Eltar.

"Long enough."  Raam's eyes twinkled.  "There is a good fencing area over this way, lady."

"Oh grand," sighed Elinor.  "Let me get my practice sword, and I'll be right there."

"No need, my lady.  Elves do battle with sabres.  Thou may use one of ours; I shall teach thee."

"Sabres?" Eltar said eagerly.  "Maybe I'll join you."

Elinor glared.  

Eltar shrugged.  "Guess I'm not that tired, after all!"

Raam laughed and led the way.




Down a dark hall strode a man.  He was tall.  Cruel armor covered his bulk, and a helm was on his head.  The helm was cast in the likeness of a vulture's head, with a long, sharp beak meant to stab.  Upon his hands were spiked gauntlets, and spiked also were his boot toes.  A demonic face leered at the world from his breastplate, and a fell axe was in his belt.  About him was a foul odour, a stench.

The stench of death.

Doors opened before him, and he stepped into a dusky chamber.  A throne stood on a daias, and the vulture knelt before it.  Next to the daias was a table with a vase on it.  In the vase was a lone dried sword lily.

"My lord, all is ready," he said, his voice smooth, smooth and deep.  Smooth as the flat of an assassin's knife. 

A cloaked figure was seated on the throne.  A slight movement came from the bent head as it spoke.  "Good, General.  And how goes the war in the North?"

"It has fulfilled its purpose.  The fairies are indeed distracted.  They will win in the end, but it will be then too late to come to the aid of the elves."

"It is well.  Get your men ready.  Prepare to march."

"Yes, my lord."  The Vulture General rose, bowed, and left the room.

His master stayed, head bowed.  Beneath the hood glinted two dark eyes.





Hey! Good chapter! Will we

Hey! Good chapter! Will we get to see Bettle and the other dwarves again? Oh, I'm sure we will. You wouldn't want to disappoint us. JK.  I do hope you'll finish this story :)

Laura Elizabeth | Mon, 01/18/2010

The best stories are those that are focused, unassuming, and self-confident enough to trust the reader to figure things out. --

I lkie the new name and am

I lkie the new name and am curious to see how it applies to the story. This was a good chaper, Clare. The Vulture General made me shiver! Good job!

Heather | Tue, 01/19/2010

And now our hearts will beat in time/You say I am yours and you are mine...
Michelle Tumes, "There Goes My Love"

I thought the elves were a

I thought the elves were a lot more boring.  But I'm glad they're not!  (I would love to fence with them using the sabres.)  The vulture general is... lemme guess... bad?

Bridget | Fri, 01/22/2010

"I always wonder why birds stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on the earth. Then I ask myself the same question." - Harun Yahya

Laura Elizabeth:  Thanks! 

Laura Elizabeth:  Thanks!  The dwarves are returning in a couple of chapters, there are just starting to be too many different stories to cover in one book! 

Heather:  Thank you. :)

Bridget:  I'm glad you don't think the elves are boring. ;)  And yes, the Vulture General is quite evil.  Thanks for commenting. :)

Clare Marie | Sun, 01/24/2010

"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve." -Bilbo Baggins [The Lord of the Rings]